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The Go Ahead Boys and Simon's Mine By Ross Kay Characters: 9956

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:03

"If only John and Pete were here," said Fred in a low voice to his companions as they withdrew to the border of the camp.

"But they aren't here," laughed George, "and there isn't any use in wasting any time crying over their absence."

"That's right," joined in Grant. "We're doing everything we can do to find them, and if we don't find them it won't be our fault."

"Do you really think," demanded Fred, "that they won't be found?"

"No, I don't think anything of the kind," said Grant. "I'm very sure they will be found. All I'm saying is that it's foolish to waste your time lamenting over what can't be helped."

"I'm not crying," retorted Fred somewhat sharply.

"Yes, you are," rejoined his friend. "You're wailing over the fact that John and Pete aren't here."

"Well, they aren't here, and that's one fact."

"If you cry about it, that's another. My mother told me there are only two things a fellow never ought to worry about in this world."

"What are they?" inquired Fred interested at once.

"The things you can help and the things you can't. There isn't any use in worrying over things you can change, for if you're able to change them, stop worrying and get at them and make them different. If you can't possibly change them, then all the worrying in the world won't do you any good."

"I'm wondering," inquired Fired, turning as he spoke and glancing again at their uninvited visitors, "if those men are planning to stay here."

"They certainly look the part now," said George in a low voice.

"What can we do to get rid of them?" asked Fred.

Grant shook his head as he said, "I don't want the contract myself of getting rid of them. If you want to try it you're welcome."

"But I don't see," continued Fred, "why we're bound to take them in and treat them as if they were our long lost brothers. I would a good deal rather see John and Pete come marching into the camp."

"So would I," acknowledged Grant, "but they'll come when they're found and not before. These fellows are here now and Zeke says it's the law of the desert that a man who drops into your camp at nightfall is entitled to share everything you have,-supplies, tents, beds and everything."

"Then I suppose we shall have to put up with it," said George somewhat glumly. "I don't like the appearance of either one of them," he added as again he glanced at the men who now were seated at one side of the camp.

Zeke, apparently was not paying any undue attention to either of the visitors. He was busying himself in certain camp duties though it was plain to his young friends that throughout his task he was keenly observant of the actions of their unwelcome visitors.

Darkness now was creeping over the land and already outlines of the great gulch were becoming confused with the clouds and the trees. It was almost impossible to determine where the rim of the gulch was. The silence, too, that rested over the region was almost oppressive. It was a silence more intense than anything any of the Go Ahead Boys ever before had experienced. Their difficulties were multiplied too by the arrival of the two men whose bearing and actions certainly increased the probability that Fred's statement concerning them that they were "bad men" was true.

The two visitors had eagerly accepted the supper which was given them and then they did not indicate any desire to depart. They did not disturb conditions nor did they strive to enter into conversation with the campers. Occasionally Zeke or one of the boys had spoken to the men, but otherwise they had mostly been left to their own devices.

When time for retiring had come and John and Pete had not come back nor had any word been heard from the young Navajo who had gone in search of them, even Zeke became somewhat serious when the boys spoke to him concerning the failure of the other members of their party to join them.

"I'm thinking" Zeke remarked, "that Kitoni will be able to find 'em, that is, if they're still in the land of the livin'."

"But don't you think they are?" demanded Fred, aghast.

"In course I think they are," said Zeke testily. "There wouldn't be no use in tryin' to find 'em if they weren't."

"But Thomas Jefferson says this valley is a place where the spirits of the dead Indians come and they don't like to be disturbed. He says that any one who tries to come into this valley is certain to have trouble."

"I reckon we've had our share of trouble," growled Zeke, "and we haven't got very far into the Gulch yet either, but I don't believe no red-skin spirit has nothin' at all to do with it."

The guide's meaning, in spite of his failure to express himself, was clear to his young companions and they strove to be content, although all three were aware that Zeke was becoming increasingly uneasy over the continued absence of John and Pete.

True to Grant's opinion the two strangers remained for the night at the camp.

They had not expected to be invit

ed nor had Zeke or any of the Go Ahead Boys bidden them go on. It was taken as a matter of course that they would be permitted to share the camp which they had found in the desert region.

"We've had a hard time," murmured Grant when at last the boys were preparing for the night. "It's been one thing after another. We've lost a boat, lost Simon Moultrie's diary, lost John and Pete, and I'm not sure that we haven't lost a good deal more by having these two tough-looking men come here and join the band as they have."

"Why don't you keep watch on them to-night?" suggested George.

"Because that's one of the two things I can't worry about," replied Grant demurely. "If they are going to shoot us I can't help it and if they aren't then there's no need of lying awake nights."

In spite of the anxiety of the Go Ahead Boys not many minutes had elapsed before all three were sleeping soundly.

Fred was utterly wearied by his efforts of the day and was the first to close his eyes. George's bruised leg was annoying though not especially painful, and it was not his suffering that caused him to lie awake long after his friends were sleeping.

His accident had made the boy somewhat home-sick. Again and again visions of his faraway home now arose before him and he was almost willing to blame his father for permitting him to take this trip to the Grand Canyon without older members of the family going with him. Indeed, the longer George thought over the matter the more he was inclined to pity himself and to blame some one else for his present misfortune.

He was well aware that there was nothing serious in the bruise he had received and that in all probability within two or three days he would be as well able to walk as ever he had been. But he was tired and anxious and under such conditions his feelings naturally were somewhat depressed. At last, however, George's eyes slowly closed and he too was asleep beside his companions.

It was not so with Zeke, the guide, however. Without betraying his fear he had been suspicious of the two men since they had first come to the camp. Unknown to them he was mindful of their every act and frequently while he was engaged in his tasks he listened and overheard parts of their conversation which he was desirous of hearing.

Zeke had stretched himself upon the dry, warm ground near the Go Ahead Boys, but it was long before sleep was to come to him. The slow moments passed and nothing was heard to break the tense silence of the wonderful region. Indeed, the silence itself was almost oppressive. It was George who had declared that "the silence was something you could hear." Strange as the expression is it is almost descriptive of the conditions under which the Go Ahead Boys now found themselves.

Zeke, however, had little sentiment and in no way had been governed by the feeling which had influenced the Go Ahead Boys. Although he was lying on the ground and his breathing was deep and regular his eyes all the time were sufficiently open to enable him to see what the men of whom he was suspicious were doing.

The hours passed slowly, but none of Zeke's fears were confirmed. Midnight came and the denseness of the silence became even more marked than before.

Now, however, the suspicions of the guide were to be confirmed and his fear proved not to be altogether groundless.

Zeke saw one of the white men suddenly and silently sit erect. While the man was looking about him, Zeke's position was unchanged, but his little eyes were peering out through half-opened eyelids and his right hand suddenly had clutched the pistol which he carried in his belt night and day.

The white man whom he was watching was the one whose face was scarred. For several minutes he sat erect and motionless, until he plainly was satisfied that all the other parties in the camp were asleep.

Then Zeke saw the man slowly rise. Even after he was standing erect he still remained motionless.

Then apparently satisfied that no one in the camp was aware of his action the man slowly and stealthily moved toward the border of the camp where the packs carried by the boys had been deposited.

Glancing behind him once, the man, still apparently convinced that he was not seen, stealthily drew one of the packs toward him and as soon as he had grasped it at once started from the camp over the way by which he had come.

Zeke now was fully awake. He too glanced keenly about him to satisfy himself that the others were not aware of his actions. Apparently satisfied that he had not been seen, he took his rifle and silently followed in the direction in which the unwelcome guest had departed.

For some strange reason Fred also was aroused directly after the departure of the guide, and somewhat startled, sat up. As he did so he saw the taller white man slowly rise from the ground where he had been lying and begin to move rapidly in the direction in which his comrade had disappeared.

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